To say that my journey seeking authenticity had its ups and downs is a gross understatement. But I knew that going in. No surprise there. Okay, a bit of a surprise. While I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t fully appreciate the extent, the extremes that I would face. Okay, so fair enough. That’s my cross to bare, more accurately, to endure, work through, survive. What I had completely missed, or not anticipated or prepared for, was that people around me would have the same experience.
For most of my family members, that ride was relatively short lived. But they experienced it none the less. Sure, there are still occasions when they experience a “twinge” as a result of my transition. However, they are now very few and far between. For my youngest, though, it has been a very long and arduous road to acceptance. For her, it was a huge number of steps backwards initially. She was devastated by the loss of her father. Oh sure, I can say it’s still me, and work on that logical argument. But it was not her brain that was crushed, it was her heart. And I get that. I totally get that. We were really close. Then not at all. Over the next two years, that would be tamed to “one step forward, two steps back”. Which is still moving backwards. That has since changed to “two steps forward, one step back”.
It is now mostly moving forward, so we are getting back to being close again. Will we ever get back to where we were before? Who knows? I somehow I doubt it. The relationship will never be the same. It will be srong, but different none the less. I try to give her as much time as she needs. That’s the price I have to pay. And I should be the one picking up the tab on this, not her, or anyone else for that matter. But it just doesn’t work that way. Too bad.
What brought this whole line of thought to the fore front? Well, we really had a good chat over the phone last night. Just over an hour. It was like all of this never happened, but of course it did. Maybe that’s what makes it such a special moment in my story. She called initially to get some advice on an issue at work, in particular with her new assistant. So we chatted about that for a big chunk of time. I think we were able to formulate a strategy together that would address the issue with a “win-win” solution. Not exactly a riveting conversation you say? Fair enough. Perhaps some context would help.
Immediately upon learning of my transition, she had a very frank conversation with me. Actually, it was more of she talked, I listened, per her instructions. She was totally terrified that she had just completely lost her dad, and all that meant to her. She told me that she went to mom for emotional support and conversations around her feelings etc. She came to me for problem solving, to kick her butt (her words not mine) to stop procrastinating and get on with things, particularly when it came to her career in law – my turf. “The last thing I need is two moms”. That was her final comment.
So, perhaps now you can see that the conversation last evening was very much like you used to have prior to my transition. It was a glimpse of “two steps forward” that I was so desperately wanting! But I knew she had to get there on her own. No amount of pressure from me was going to help. It fact it would probably have made things worse. I had to give her the time and space to get there on her own. And that, folks, is no mean feat.
The remainder of the conversation was organizing a weekend together in Toronto. I have to go there to fly out to speak at a corporate event, so we are going to take advantage of that opportunity and spend the evening and next day together before I fly out. Shopping, or dinner and a show, etc. her call. All I care about is spending time with her. She is such an awesome young woman, as is my other daughter.
I have always said, we don’t transition in isolation. We should respect that everyone else around us transitions as well, into a new relationship. Nothing has been more true in my experience. But at least we are getting there. We still have more to go, more work to be done. And who knows, our “new normal” may be better than before. Given that I am happier, more confident, more engaged and just “plugged in”, so to speak, it might just happen. Regardless, I cherish all these great moments.